When CBS built its own version of The View around former Early Show anchor (and Les Moonves wife) Julie Chen, you knew it was going to feel like an also-ran. On The Talk, Chen was cast in the Barbara Walters role of seasoned journalist, while the comedians around her (Sharon Osbourne and Leah Remini) would be Joy, Whoopi, and Sherri. How Holly Robinson Peete and Sara Gilbert fit in, we could never really figure out, but anyway. As far as serious journalistic chops go, Chen had nothing on the legendary Walters — but Walters also managed to be funnier and weirder and more interesting off the cuff. And, “Page Six” tells us today, Chen falls short in another way: She can’t keep the show together. Walters managed to wrestle with warring personalities like Rosie O’Donnell, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Star Jones without ever making it seem like the show had entirely exploded. Joy’s always been around, and journalists like Lisa Ling and Meredith Vieira left on good terms.
But after a mere one season, according to “Page Six,” The Talk has imploded — and sources say it’s because of Chen. Sharon Osbourne announced last month that she’s taking a break from the show, and last week Holly Robinson Peete said she won’t return for season two. Reportedly, Leah Remini won’t either. For Remini and Osbourne, Chen’s husband-backed mandates (like a ban on talking about Casey Anthony unless Chen was around) were the final straw.
But Sara Gilbert’s coming back! That lady is not a quitter. And if there’s one thing we know she’s can handle, it’s dealing with unexplained cast changes.
Chen ticks off ‘The Talk’ team [Page Six/NYP]